We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Out walking in the frozen swamp one grey day I paused and said, "I will turn back from here. No, I will go on farther--and we shall see." The hard snow held me, save where now and then One foot went down. The view was all in straight up and down of tall slim trees Too much alike to mark or name a place by So as to say for certain I was here Or somewhere else: I was just far from home. A small bird flew before me. He was careful To put a tree between us when he lighted, And say no word to tell me who he was Who was so foolish as to think what he thought. He thought that I was after him for a feather-- The white one in his tail; like one who takes Everything said as personal to himself. One flight out sideways would have undeceived him. And then there was a pile of wood for which I forgot him and let his little fear Carry him off the way I might have gone, Without so much as wishing him good-night. He went behind it to make his last stand. It was a cord of maple, cut and split And piled--and measured, four by four by eight. And not another like it could I see. No runner tracks in this year's snow looped near it. And it was older sure than this year's cutting, Or even last year's or the year's before. The wood was grey and the bark warping off it And the pile somewhat sunken. Clematis Had wound strings round and round it like a bundle. What held it though on one side was a tree Still growing, and on one a stake and prop, These latter about to fall. I thought that only Someone who lived in turning to fresh tasks Could so forget his handiwork on which He spent himself, the labour of his axe, And leave it there far from a useful fireplace To warm the frozen swamp as best it could With the slow smokeless burning of decay.
I had forgotten the sound of that man's poetry. I read it to my beloved and we shared a wonderful moment. All because you took the time to post this beautiful piece, and remind us how essential beauty is to the human spirit.
Frost does get the images right, doesn't he? And the reflections are where the Yankee mind does go.
I name-drop each time you publish Frost that my grandfather had him as an English teacher at Pinkerton Academy around 1912. He didn't like him much. The word was that he resented having to teach to keep up his mother's farm, and was happy to light out for Vermont later.
Assistant VIllage Idiot
Thanks, Bird Dog, for posting this. Just when you think you've had enough of Frost he floors you with a line like "the slow, smokeless burning of decay." So you nod and slightly shake your head and smile in silent assent to genius.
Ralph Kinney Bennett